Poor batting cost us the Test – Chandimal

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Test captain Dinesh Chandimal admitted that Sri Lanka lost the second Test to India at the SSC because of their poor batting display in the first innings. Replying to India’s massive first innings of 622-9 declared, Sri Lanka was shot out for 183 and although they came up with a fighting batting display in their second innings to score 386 they still lost the Test by an innings.

“We were completely outplayed. The first innings effort was disappointing and it cost us heavily. They batted well to score 622 which is huge. That put us under a lot of pressure,” said Chandimal at the post-match press conference.

“I am really pleased with the way we batted in the second innings. We fought hard. It was a fine effort by both Kusal Mendis and Dimuth Karunaratne. After yesterday (Saturday) we had some discussion and in those meetings we planned about how to go about things today. I still feel that everyone fought very hard but we kept losing wickets. We need to pick up the positives and look forward to the next game.

“It was a special innings that Dimuth played. As an opener we expect that kind of innings from him, so we’re very happy he played that innings on a very tough deck like this one.

Of the innings that I’ve seen over the last three or four years, this innings was one of the best – both from our team and opposition’s. It was an excellent innings. He always goes to the crease looking to score runs. That must have helped him get the 141 runs,” he said.

A majority of the strokes played by the Lankan batsmen against the Indian spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were the sweeps and the reverse sweeps.

“After the second day’s play we felt it was tough to bat on the pitch. We tried to play straight but we couldn’t score well,” explained Chandimal.

“Before the second innings we had a discussion and had a chat about what was the best way to score runs. Everyone agreed that the best way moving forward was by using the sweep and reverse sweep shots heavily. We executed it really well in the second innings.”

Sri Lanka went into the Test heavily reliant on spin with three spinners and one seamer, but suffered a setback when the solitary seamer Nuwan Pradeep broke down with a hamstring injury.

“At the moment we have in our bowling two experienced bowlers, Rangana Herath and Dilruwan Perera. We had a wicket that turned and we expected them to come into the scene. But we couldn’t execute those plans,” said Chandimal.

“It’s really hard to play with one seamer. What we thought about is that under these conditions, the only way we could have balanced the team was with one seamer in the attack. That was the plan. Unfortunately he got injured and that became a big problem.”

With Pradeep ruled out from about 2-3 weeks and Suranga Lakmal also on the injured list Sri Lanka are short of quality fast bowlers going into the third and final Test beginning in six days at Pallekele.

“Yes it’s a bit of a disadvantage not to have Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal. We haven’t made any decisions on selection because it was only in this match Nuwan got injured. We haven’t spoken to the selectors. We will make a plan in the future and try to execute that,” said Chandimal.

“We have four days now. We try to win every match. Even over the next few days we are hoping to spend a lot of time and energy in training. If we can win even one match against a team like India, we will be able to really boost the mental state of the team. They are the no. 1 team. The staff and everyone else will be really committed at training.”